Ever wondered what it would be like to boost your bank balance without having to set foot outside?
Working in your PJs, not paying for gas or parking, not having the same dull store-bought sandwich for lunch – and, perhaps most importantly, being there to take your dog out for a walk?
Yep, I’m pretty sure you have.
Making money from home is something we’ve all thought about – and I’ve talked about making it a reality more than once.
There are plenty of ways to make money from home, but today I’m going to delve deep into one that has the perfect balance of realistic + lucrative: working as a virtual assistant.
Make it one of your side hustles to make some extra money, or grow it into a lucrative work-from-home career – the choice is yours.
It’s also a fantastic way to step into the world of freelancing – and boost your skills as well as learn everything about online entrepreneurship.   
But first – what does a virtual assistant do? And what skills do you need to become one – and make decent money out of it?
Read on to find out everything you need to know. 

WHAT IS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT?


In short, a virtual assistant’s job is to make someone’s life easier.
Think of it this way: a small business owner needs help managing the ins and outs of her business (from updating the company’s Facebook page, to getting her finances under control). There’s too much to do, but very little time – and that’s when they hire you to help.
But being a virtual assistant doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be an executive assistant. You won’t always perform traditional administrative tasks like organizing monthly expenses in Excel or booking in appointments (unless that’s what you specialize in, of course).
One of the best things about this role is that it’s incredibly diverse. Depending on who you work for, one day, you may be writing a newsletter and scheduling Facebook posts, the next day, you could be organizing a start-up’s conference in the Bahamas. Yes, really.
And – because it’s virtual – you can be anywhere in the world while helping someone keep their business on track. Yes, you could even be in the Bahamas yourself.

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU NEED TO BECOME A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT?


While the skills and services you offer as a virtual assistant vary a lot, some essential skills would make the role easier (and probably more enjoyable). I’m talking about things like:
  • Organizational skills
  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Good knowledge and understanding of all-things-internet
As a virtual assistant, you’re likely to be communicating with different people online, so being able to find the right approach with each person is pretty important.

HOW MUCH CAN YOU EARN AS A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT?


If you’re asking yourself, “how much does a virtual assistant make per hour?”, the truth is that there’s no one single answer.
One of the most appealing things about being a freelancer that you’re the boss – meaning you decide how much to charge your clients for the services you offer. 
That said, if you’ve woken up one morning and decided you want to become a freelance writer or graphic designer without any experience, you won’t be able to charge hundreds of bucks right away. 
However, with expertise and skills come the big bucks!
Same applies to work as a virtual assistant. If you don’t have much relevant experience, your initial pay per hour will probably be quite low (and could be below $10 an hour).
However, once you have some experience and a decent website which helps showcase your skills and expertise, you could be earning as much as $35+ an hour (without leaving the house!).
Sounds pretty great, right?

TOP 10 VA SERVICES THAT ARE IN HIGHEST DEMAND RIGHT NOW


While the type of work you do as a virtual assistant varies and will depend on things like your skill set, your niche, interests, previous career and even location – some services are in higher demand than others. Offering several different services means that your clients won’t have to outsource to multiple freelancers, making their lives easier and you – a more attractive option.    
Here’s a list of top services virtual assistants provide that people pay for:

1. CUSTOMER SERVICE


One of the most popular jobs a virtual assistant can help with is customer service. Keeping customers happy is crucial to any businesses that want to thrive – but it requires a significant time investment. 
And business owners don’t have that much time on their hands – which is why they hire awesome people like you and pay you to make their lives easier.
Here are a few customer support-related tasks you may perform as a virtual assistant:
  • Handling customer inquiries
  • Supporting customers in real time (e.g., Live Chat)
  • Processing orders
  • Managing shipments
  • Chasing payments
  • Keeping records up to date

2. FINANCE MANAGEMENT


Staying on top of their finances is something that a lot of people need help with – whether that’s personal finances, business finances – or both. If you have some expertise in this area and get on with numbers, you could offer financial management services to your clients, such as:
  • Planning for taxes
  • Managing retirement funds
  • Tracking debt repayment
  • Creating, sending and logging invoices
  • Processing payments
  • Calculating profit and loss
  • Bookkeeping

3. ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT


Admin tasks are pretty straightforward – and are probably most closely associated with virtual assistant roles. Administrative help may include:
  • Booking in appointments and calls
  • Managing a client’s schedule/ calendar
  • Monitoring voicemail
  • Making travel arrangements
  • Creating reports/ PDF documents
  • Drafting emails, internal communication, etc.
  • Preparing PowerPoint presentations
  • Managing files (e.g., DropBox, Google Drive, etc.)
  • Setting up spreadsheets and data entry

4. SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT


Being a virtual assistant isn’t all about spreadsheets and other shipping orders! If you know (or are willing to learn) how to manage social media accounts, companies will hire you because they need help with that.
Being active on social media as a business is crucially important today – but building a strong social media presence, again, requires a substantial time investment and some specialist knowledge.
Which is why business owners may outsource social media management tasks to people who know more about it than them.
Social media management tasks may include:
  • Posting on social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Instagram)
  • Keeping profiles up-to-date 
  • Responding to comments to keep up the engagement
  • Coming up with SM campaign ideas – and launching them
  • Reaching out to new potential customers through social media
  • Staying informed about promotional rules on each platform
  • Knowing about social SEO and using it to optimize your posts

5. CONTENT PRODUCTION


Businesses also need quality content to build and maintain engagement with their audiences.
Offering content creation services may give you a competitive edge over other virtual assistants.
Here are a few content production services you may offer:
  • Writing and formatting blog posts
  • Proofreading and editing
  • Keyword research
  • Making posts SEO-friendly
  • Sourcing and editing photos
  • Researching and suggesting topics
  • Creating infographics
  • Transforming business data into engaging content
  • Adding affiliate links
  • Scheduling posts for publication

HOW CAN YOU FIND VIRTUAL ASSISTANT JOBS? 

There are many ways to find VA gigs, but here are a few tried and tested methods:

1. CHECK OUT SOCIAL MEDIA SITES


Facebook is a great place to look for freelance jobs in general. There are many niche groups you can join – search for anything VA work-related, and you’ll probably be overwhelmed by the number of choices.
Once you join these groups, make sure you put in some time and effort into networking: that’s a key element of succeeding as a freelancer, which is often overlooked.
Another thing you could do is post about your services on social media and ask your Facebook community to share. You’d be surprised by how many people get their first gig that way! 

2. REACH OUT TO LOCAL BUSINESSES


Small businesses are a big market for virtual assistants. So, why not reach out to a few local companies to see if they need any help managing their workload? You never know, it could be that they simply haven’t considered outsourcing.

3. CHECK OUT FREELANCING WEBSITES


Sites like People Per HourUpwork or Fiverr could also be an excellent place to start looking for your first VA gig. Bear in mind that you may need to start with a very competitive price to land your first few clients – but that’s part of the game.
Once you’ve landed a few clients, gained experience, and received some positive reviews, it’ll become easier to find work.

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